Both Houses have passed it unanimously under President Bush and President Obama, but neither president took action on a formal pardon.
“President Obama has never said why he didn’t pardon Jack Johnson when Congress unanimously asked him to do so. The senators and congressmen pushing this pardon are apparently hoping that a re-elected President Obama sees this differently than he did in his first term,” said O’Donnell. “One hundred years after Jack Johnson’s conviction in court, justice for the first African-American heavyweight champion is up to the first African-American president.”
As women’s boxing makes its long-awaited debut at the Olympics, all eyes are on Marlen Esparza, America’s best hope for the gold.
Boxer Lavarn Harvell, right, connects to the head of Tony Pietrantonio for a knockout during the third round of their light heavyweight boxing fight in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on April 28, 2012.
by Gautham Nagesh
Former heavyweight champ Smokin’ Joe Frazier passed away Monday night at the age of 67 following a bout with liver cancer. The boxing world has lost an icon and one-half of its greatest rivalry.
I was fortunate enough to meet Frazier during Fight Night at the Washington almost exactly one year ago. As I told Martin, it was the one moment of my journalism career that I was completely star-struck. Enough that aside professionalism and posed for the photo above, which has now become one of my personal treasures.
Frazier and his tough, blue-collar approach to boxing was the perfect foil to mercurial Muhammad Ali. While Ali was all speed and grace, Frazier was pure power and determination. Few remember that he won the most-anticipated fight of his era, or that Ali called their final bout in Manilla the closest he’s been to death. Frazier’s name will endure as a symbol of when the sport reached its zenith; it is unlikely another heavyweight will ever deliver the left hook with such power and ferocity.
I stopped by NPR headquarters this morning to discuss Frazier’s passing on “Tell Me More” with host Michel Martin and Sugar Ray Leonard; the audio should be posted here around 3pm.
In the meantime, enjoy some of the better remembrances available on the Web after the jump:
8 P.M. (ESPN) THE REAL ROCKY
In 1975 Chuck Wepner, the 6-foot-5 boxer known as the Bayonne Bleeder for his New Jersey hometown and for the pummeling he sustained at the fists of Sonny Liston, went up against Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight title and a potential purse of $100,000. (Ali would win $1.5 million.) Wepner knocked Ali down in the ninth round, stunning the crowd; in the remaining rounds Ali opened cuts above Wepner’s eyes, broke his nose and, with 19 seconds remaining in the 15th round, knocked him down, winning the bout. Watching it all was a young Sylvester Stallone, who was inspired to write the script for, and eventually star in, “Rocky” (1976), which won three Academy Awards, including best picture. Jeff Feuerzeig (“The Devil and Daniel Johnston”) chronicles the life and times of Wepner, now a liquor salesman who drives a Cadillac with vanity plates that read “Champ.”
Gil Clancy, a trainer of champions who, as a CBS analyst throughout the 1980s, gave the nation a taste of how boxing in New York used to sound, died yesterday at 88.
On Saturday afternoon, Nov. 13, 1982, on CBS, Tim Ryan and Clancy called one of the last scheduled 15-round title bouts and among the most infamously brutal — lightweight Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini's 14th round knockout of Duk Koo Kim, who died four days later. - Phil Mushnick, NY Post
I grew up loving and learning about boxing from Mr. Clancy. This was back when plenty of boxing was on “free” TV. I actually remember the Mancini-Kim fight that Mushnick refers to. It was a brutal war. I don’t follow boxing like I used to but I have fond memories of CBS’ Saturday afternoon telecasts and Mr. Clancy stood out because of his honest concise teaching approach. He never talked down to his audience. His analysis of the “sweet science” was, for me, unmatched. Sad to hear this news. R.I.P. Mr. Gil Clancy.